Modesty: More Than an Exterior Show

There is much talk within the Christian community about modesty, yet, most of the focus seems to on the exterior appearance of a woman, rather than on what Christ said:

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33, ESV)

And again we find these wise words from the Scriptures, "but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." (1 Peter 3:4, ESV)

The dictionary definition for modesty is: the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.—regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.—simplicity; moderation.

In 1 Timothy 2:9 the original Greek word used for "modesty" is, αἰδώς, transliterated "aidós" which means: the idea of downcast eyes; bashfulness, (e.g., towards men). As you can clearly see, this attitude of "modesty" in Scripture is not speaking of mere exterior simplicity, but something greater and more valuable in God's eyes—a woman's internal modesty, that is, a quiet and gentle spirit.

Please don't mistake a "quiet and gentle spirit" to mean anything more than that. Our spirit's, that is, our hearts, are gentled (under God's control) and quieted (because we trust the Lord). Which often means we will boldly proclaim God's truth when necessary, rather than cower in a corner and say nothing at all (Js 4:17) because we foolishly suppose God is deceived and pleased by our fear of man, rather than fear of God. A woman who has a gentle and quiet spirit will not defend herself, but she will lovingly and unashamedly defend her faith in Christ, His inerrant Word, and her Father's call to holiness.

Though the word "modesty" is never used in Scripture as merely an external show, it has become somewhat of an idol and a source of false-piety (pride) for many Christian women who deem themselves holier than other women who don't display the same exterior modesty. This in itself is sinful and a display of boasting in self, rather than boasting only in the one whom it is due; Christ our Lord (Jer 9:23-24).

"We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart."
~2 Corinthians 5:12

Sadly, I can attest that I know (and have been one myself) many; too many, Christian women who pride themselves in their exterior show of modesty, yet by what falls out of our mouths (Matt 15:18), we prove that we embody no modesty in our hearts; which in God's sight, is more valuable.

We Christian women gossip and slander one another and call them "prayer requests". We judge, bite and devour our husbands and emasculate their headship over us through: nagging; eye-rolls; and the quiet, yet deeply penetrating dismissive behavior we display towards them in public and private. Some of us even use profanity and manipulate others to do what we want. We're drunkards, we indulge our appetites through overeating, and we even go as far as using Scripture out of context to support our sins (Is 5:20-21).

But, hey, we dress modestly on the outside (no skin tight clothing, no short shorts, no cleavage, etc.) so that must mean we're doing pretty good in God's sight, yes? No. Our immodest hearts towards God and our fellow man are not only an irritation in the Almighty's holy eyes, but we're also setting a poor example to those whom God has given us to influence for their good and not for the things that make us feel good (Rom 15:1-3, Php 2:3-4).

When our internal modesty is the foundation for how we display our external modesty, we gladly strive to dress in a way that most pleases God by protecting what's precious, rather than flaunting them for all the world to see, thereby making what's precious, cheap.

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
~Ephesians 5:1-2